Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin-Kebbi
The Federal Government yesterday said that about 330 attacks by bandits and 1,460 deaths were recorded within the last seven months in the country.
The Permanent Secretary, Special Services, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Dr Amina Shamaki, made this known at the opening of federal and states security administrators’ meeting in Birnin Kebbi.
Shamaki, however, said that the attacks have been on the decline.
She noted that the North West, which was one of the most peaceful zones of the country, had in the last few years witnessed attacks by bandits.
Shamaki said the security situation in the zone remained a source of concern to the security agencies and the general populace.
“From January to July, 2019, about 330 attacks were recorded, resulting to the death of about 1,460 civilians.
“However, between June and July, 2019, the number of incidents declined, especially in Zamfara State, that had been the epicentre of armed banditry, ” she said.
Shamaki also attributed the decline to the combination of both kinetic and non kinetic measures put in place by the government.
She said: “The dialogue initiated by the current Zamfara State governor, Alhaji Bello Matawalle, in particular and the other governors in the zone is worthy of commendation and should be adopted by states with similar security challenges.
“Application of the carrot and stick approach is an effective strategy that enables criminals wiling to embrace peace to do so while repentant ones are identified and isolated for appropriate actions by the security agencies.”
According to her, while bandits’ attacks have reduced in Zamfara, the incidents have risen in the contiguous states.
Shamaki, therefore, stressed the need for vigilance and close monitoring of the repentant bandits by the security agencies to prevent them from going back to the trenches.
“Another security concern is the porosity of our borders. The borders aided smuggling of small arms and light weapons from war-torn zones, including Libya and Central Africa Republic, terrorism, cross- border crimes, human trafficking, irregular migration and smuggling of migrants, among others.
“The Federal Government is doing a lot to improve border security with a view to addressing some of these challenges,” she said.
The permanent secretary appealed to states that share borders with the country’s neighbours to support the government ‘s efforts by enlightening their subjects on the implication of harbouring irregular migrants and other aliens in their midst.
In his remarks, Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi S, thanked the security agencies and judiciary in the state for contributing to make the state peaceful and model for other states.
He said: “It doesn’t matter if one state is peaceful while others are not. We should collapse the silos that divide us, embrace and understand each other in order to help ourselves in the provision of security in this country.”
The governor wished all participants fruitful deliberations and memorable stay in the peaceful state.